UGA getting healthier ahead of Tennessee trip

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart discusses facing the Volunteers in Tennessee. (Video by Chip Towers/AJC)

After a rare early-season bye, the Georgia Bulldogs returned to Woodruff Practice Fields on Monday to resume preparations for Saturday's game against Tennessee (7 p.m., ESPN).

The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs (4-0, 1-0 SEC) practiced for two hours in "shells" and welcomed back some key players from injuries.

Among the players to return to action Monday were two starters: cornerback Eric Stokes and wide receiver Kearis Jackson. Stokes went out in the first quarter against Notre Dame with an apparent left knee sprain. Jackson, a flanker and punter returner, has been sidelined since suffering two fractures in his left hand in the opener against Vanderbilt. He has progressed from a club cast to a new specially-fitted brace.

“We think he's going to be good to go,” coach Kirby Smart said.

However, two other starters — cornerback Tyson Campbell and guard Solomon Kindley -- were not getting work during the 10-minute observation period allotted to media.

Campbell is trying to make his way back from a foot injury. Kindley, an all-conference candidate at left guard, suffered what appeared to be a significant sprain to his left ankle early in the Notre Dame game and has not been back on the field since.

Smart had indicated in his press briefing earlier in the day Monday that he expects to have both players back in time to face the Vols.

“Tyson is still limited a little bit,” Smart said. “Hoping to get him back before the end of the week. He's recovering quickly. ... Solomon, we expect to be able to go out today and do some work. We think he's going to be cleared to play.”

The Bulldogs have fared well in the absence of both players. Junior college transfer D.J. Daniel started against Notre Dame and had five tackles, a tackle for loss and pass break-up. Junior Justin Shaffer replaced Kindley and played the rest of the way in the 23-17 victory over the No. 7 Irish.

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